Fla. Sheriff Upset with Firefighters' Pay



Marion County’s sheriff is upset firefighters get paid more than his deputies. The highest paid deputy makes $67,000 a year, but the highest paid firefighter makes $132,000.

Even though they both make more than most employees of private businesses, the sheriff wants his deputies to get raises.

Marion County sheriff's deputies and Marion County firefighters hold down two distinctly different jobs. Turns out, their pay is part of that difference.

"If both public safety professionals are arriving at a scene, there should be some parity in pay," said Judge Cochran, Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Ed Dean spent nearly $7,000 on a study to compare deputy and firefighter salaries which showed his officers earn on average, $7,000 per year less.

In a letter to his employees and the county commission, Dean said he would take necessary steps to fix it because he believes it is only fair.

Neither the sheriff nor his chief deputy was willing to actually defend the contents of their own letter. That task was left to sheriff's spokesman Judge Cochran who said despite the recession, this is only a study.

"We don't know where the money is going. We haven't asked for anything yet," Cochran said.

Cochran says new recruits in both departments start at around $26,000 per year, but firefighters quickly out-earn the officers because of incentive pay and overtime.

The sheriff insists he is not criticizing the amount of money paid to the firefighters he just wants to bring his crew up to that level.


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